Sen. Lamar Alexander – as well as other conservative lawmakers – characterized Medicaid as a "medical ghetto" during Senate floor speeches on the health overhaul debate last year, American Medical News
reports. But, the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health contradicts that common perception. "Based on nearly 92,000 interviews, it found that in 36 states, children in Medicaid and CHIP were as likely or more likely than privately insured kids to have had at least one preventive health care visit over a 12-month period."
The program's advantage stems from the federal government requirement that "it to cover a standardized package of preventive care benefits for children called the Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment program. ... By contrast, private insurance coverage for children is 'all over the map,'" (a former president of the American Academy of Pediatrics) said. Some wonder whether expanding Medicaid to more people would stretch the program too thin to preserve that edge (Trapp, 2/1).